The Header Picture was taken on October 10, 2017 at Lake Santeetiah near Robbinsville, North Carolina (as we were leaving the Cherohala Skyway) on a rainy, foggy, damp morning.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grandmother and Grandfather Ballard

The picture above is my grandparents (on my mother's side). Mom's mother was Ida Elizabeth Bruce Ballard and Mom's father was James Franklin Ballard. Ida was the oldest of the seven Bruce children. She was born Dec. 21, 1874.

On December 28, 1899, Ida (at the age of 25) married James Franklin Ballard (age 37). Here is an article that was published in the Big Stone Gap Post (newspaper) on Jan. 4, 1900 entitled "A Novel Wedding." OR as the Bristol newspaper said, "Former Bristol Boy Gets a Bride in his Stocking".

"During the Christmas holidays, Mr. J. F. Ballard, formerly of Bristol, TN and a frequent visitor to Big Stone Gap, but now a resident of Newport News, VA., went to Norfolk, and after sending up his supplication to "Santa Claus", hung up his stocking at one of the popular hotels of that city and then went to bed like many other anxious boys, dreaming of "Dear Santa Claus" and Christmas toys.

New morning he awoke and ran to see what "Santa Claus" had sent him, and to his great delight, he found in his stocking a very beautiful and charming young lady, whom he was enabled to identify by the jewel she wore, being that of Miss Ida E. Bruce, the accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D.H. Bruce of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, who was the object of Mr. Ballard's frequent visits to our town.

Mr. Ballard was overjoyed, and danced the "can-can" around the room and sang like a "lark" in the spring time, and said that Santa Claus was a dear old fellow and never went back on a little boy when he prayed to him in the right way.

He called in a preacher, who forthwith united them in the holy bonds of matrimony, and pronounced God's richest blessing upon them, and bade them God-speed upon the broad ocean of life.

Mr. Ballard and his bride took the Old Dominion steamer via Old Point Comfort for Newport News, where they now reside and will make their future home.

Both parties are well and favorably known at Big Stone Gap, and their novel wedding was a great surprise to their many friends here, who join us in wishing them a long and prosperous union, and the return of many a merry Christmas."


I'm not sure who wrote that article for the newspaper--but many of the Bruce's were creative writers. I thought it was an interesting way to 'announce' a wedding--although it 'appeared' as if it was a SURPRISE to the family back in Big Stone Gap.

Sadly, Ida and James were only married for a little over four years. Ida became very sick and died on May 16, 1904. During the years they were married, they had three children: Edith Marguerite Ballard (Oct. 1, 1900)--my mother; Elsie Lura Ballard (born on Feb. 4, 1902 and died on May 19, 1902); and Ernest Carl Ballard (born on January 5, 1904 and died from whooping cough on September 15, 1904).

There's an interesting and sad story in my family history notes about my Grandmother and her sister, Lula, riding on the train from Newport News back to Big Stone Gap with my Mom (age 1.5) and the new baby (Elsie). The baby had been very sick since birth and the doctors told my Grandmother to take the baby back to another climate. So--they headed for the mountains of Big Stone Gap. Sadly though, the baby died on the train ride, before they even got to another climate. AND--because Ida and Lula were afraid of being put off of the train, they had to carry the dead baby to their destination without telling anyone. How Sad is that!

After my grandmother died, Mom was raised by her Big Stone Gap and Bristol aunts. Her father (she called him "Papa") remarried and went on with his life. I don't think that Mom got to spend much time with her father, all through the years--from what I have read. I do know that she lived with her Papa and his new family in Oklahoma for a short time. But most of the time, she lived in Big Stone Gap. James F. Ballard died on January 8, 1936 near Bristol. I'll talk more about the Ballard family in another upcoming blog.


UPDATE: Yesterday, George and I went to Hendersonville (north of Nashville) to check on his elderly parents. Mom and Dad Adams are still doing great. They are such an inspiration!!!!


fishing guy said...

Betsy: That is a wonderful story from your history.

ROSIDAH said...

You keep on amazing me with your family archives, Betsy! The stories of your grandmother and your mother's siblings are so sad, but I'm glad that your mother survived and gave birth to you :). I agree to you that George's parents are a true inspiration. Hugs and love from Indonesia. Have a wonderful weekend.

Arkansas Patti said...

No body ever said "Say Cheese" in the old photos. I have rarely seen a smiling person in a tin type.
You grandmother had a difficult life as did your Mom. I hope the "aunts" were good to your Mom. She produced a positive and cheerful daughter so they must have.

Photojenni said...

Wow Betsy, that is neat History. I love to hear of my background. Thanks for sharing! Pj

Shellmo said...

YOu do such a great job of sharing your family history w/ us! Amazing you were able to find that newspaper article! Sad that your grandmother only lived 4 years!

mountain.mama said...

It's so hard to imagine something that sad as having to hold your dead baby on a train ride to its destination. It's cool though that you have the pictures and family stories that go with them.

Harriet said...

You are so lucky to have so much information on your family.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Very interesting family history, Betsy.

Grammy said...

I so loved this story.
I have never read such a creative news paper announcement. I treasure things like this. As I did family research too.

Mildred said...

Thanks for sharing this story Betsy. Blessings to you and George this weekend.

NCmountainwoman said...

I love these old photographs and the stories they tell. Lovely post.

Dirt Princess said...

What a wonderful post. How blessed you are to know so much about your family and have such wonderful stories about them.

Joy said...

That is a such an awesome wedding announcement. That you actually have it is amazing. January 4th is my birthday. (not 1900 haha) Not much happened on my birthday in history so this will be fun to think of. Love that picture. James Franklin Ballard looks so similar to a picture of my great, great, grandaddy.
So sad about the baby dieing on the train. That must have been so difficult. Can't imagine.


Small City Scenes said...

great family history--even though it is sad. What a crazy announcement about the wedding.
You are so fortunate to have so many older family pictures.
My second daughter does family history and has been able to get some great photos but they are hard to come by.
I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you. MB

Rose said...

Oh, Betsy, I think we all tend to think about the good old days...but in the end I always think about if my children would have survived without doctors. I had to have Sarah c-section so we both might have ended up dead without the care of doctor. I can't imagine losing one child, let alone two.

EcoRover said...

Classic Victorian photos and family memories. Drop by for supper anytime--I need about a one day notice, though, to catch a mess of trout.

The Incredible Woody said...

I love that newspaper article!!

It is amazing how strong our ancestors were and the things they had to deal with.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Your Grandparents seemed to have found a great love and were looking at a charmed life to come....I suppose this just was not in the stars for them. Your Poor Grandma. Lost 2 babies and then died so young herself.
It is amazing what people had to deal with way back when...you are lucky to have so much of your family history, even the not so happy stuff.

mkreider said...

Great Stories! I must say that I do like it when anything happens "forthwith".

Daisy said...

So many interesting stories to pass on from our family histories! I'm glad to hear that George's parents are doing well.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

What a great newspaper article !
Lots of family history there Betsy, and they all sound as though they liked a joke or two ;)
Sad though about the baby on the train .....Can't wait till the next chapter is told ;)

GeneaDiva said...

Wonderful newspaper clipping. It really fleshes out your grandfather's playful side.

Too sad she and two of her babies died so young.

Dorothy said...

Interesting and bitter-sweet bit of family history. Thanks for sharing.

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Diane said...

Such sad things happened in the past, it just seems to be almost too much. Makes you appreciate our ancestors so much for all they've been through. Terrible things happen today, they're just different, I guess.

Smilingsal said...

So many children in so few years. Those were the days!

Snowbrush said...

I enjoyed learning a little about your family history, and I also enjoyed your rose photos.

My family is from around Chattanooga (since the late 1800s), but I don't know before that.

Snowbrush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kallen305 said...

I am amazed at all of the info you have on your ancestors AND you have photos to go with it. So fascinataing!

lola said...

It's good to know about your ancestors. Having pictures is a great bonus.
I have a lot of information but my cousin has more as his mother was the one that kinda held things together family wise.
So sad about the train incident. To loose one is bad enough, but 2.? Sometimes you wonder if that didn't contribute to her early demise.

Tootie said...

Oh what a tragic story. I can't imagine how hard that trip must have been.

On a happier note, I am amazed at how many rose blooms you have gathered so far. Your house has to smell fantastic!

Sara G said...

What a great post Betsy!
I love family history!!
Take care

Patty said...

What great family history! It is sad about the baby on the train..How very hard that must have been.

Cedar ... said...

No smiles in that old picture. The bride looks especially sad. Perhaps a sign of things to come. Interesting story.

Galyn01 said...

Hi Betsy! I am so glad to have found your "Ballard" blog. My husband's family are descendants of the same family line. Our line follows through John Bradley Ballard, who is buried in Central City, Colorado. He moved out here prior to Colorado becoming a state, and is considered a "Pioneer" for the state of Colorado. I noticed your mention of certain names being passed down, and wnated to share with you that my father-in-law's name is Charley Ernest Ballard.

Mrs. Galyn M. Ballard
Colorado Springs, CO

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Galyn, I'm anxious to talk to you --but cannot reach you. Please send me an email and we can discuss the Ballards.. My email is betsyadams@mac.com


Betsy Adams said...

NOTE to some cousin of mine named BOGGS --who sent me an email... Somehow I lost the email ---so please email me again... So sorry!!! I do want to talk to you --if I can catch up with you!